What is biocranial therapy, how the cranium works and what goes wrong with it.
What is Biocranial Therapy
Bio Cranial Therapy – AKA BCT is a technique of pressuring the cranial bones to “open” the mesh-work of the cranial mechanism to help bring a natural re-alignment of the 23 bones of the cranium in relation with the meningeal tissues that line the skull and anchor the brain in place.
The cranial mechanism
The cranial mechanism is a cleverly designed spina; fluid pump that is essential for life itself. If all of the bones in your head quit moving, you would soon perish. As long as you are alive, the bones in your head should articulate or move. It is only after death that the cranial bones cease to move, harden, and become brittle.
The cranio-sacral rhythm
The normally functioning cranial mechanism expands and contracts the entire skull around 8 times a minute. In other words, your head expands and contracts much like your rib cage during breathing cycles. The cranio-sacral rhythms are vital to the circulation of cerebral spinal fluid around the brain and down the spinal column.
The cranium at birth
This pumping mechanism of the cranium is present at birth. Then birthing process itself is essential to set up an appropriate cranio-sacral rhythm. It is the same basic principle of the chick hatching out of the egg shell in its struggles to gain freedom at birth. Another analogy is the butterfly; the struggle to be free of the cocoon forces the moisture in the body into the wings allowing completed development of the butterfly. If you wish to experiment: Try helping a butterfly out of his cocoon to find the wings are short and stubby and the butterfly cannot fly. Or help a chick out of his eggshell to find a weak and poorly developing chicken.
In the birthing of the human baby the contractions of the mother’s uterus and the trip down the narrow birth canal help to set up the motion and articulation of the cranial bones. This in turn affects the cerebral spinal fluid flow and also the pressure that the skull and meninges put upon the brain. If these mechanisms are not appropriate they could predispose the infant to a lifetime of various weaknesses in different parts of the body!
Another cause of damage to this cranial mechanism is head trauma. A traumatic accident can deform the cranium and cause subfluxations in the normal articulations of the bones, thereby causing lesions in the cranium and meninges that interrupt the normal cycles of the cranio-sacral mechanism.
The Birthing Process
In light of what we just covered you may think that any vaginal delivery ought to be OK and a C-section might be the one with problems. They will both possibly have cranial abnormalities. The problem for the vaginal birth arises in the intensity and duration of the uterine contractions during the birthing process. Either too intense or too relaxed are not the best. If mommy receives an epidural or turns to drugs during labor and delivery this will confuse the labor contractions by limiting the biofeedback to the brain. This will interfere with the intensity and duration of the labor. For this mommy some Bio Cranial Therapy and exercise long before labor would help to have her body in a state of readiness for the delivery.
The tough mother
One portion of the meninges that anchor the brain in place is the dura mater. The dura mater comes from Latin words that mean “tough mother”. This is the lining of the inside of the skull that protects, anchors, and covers the brain and helps separate different parts of the brain. It is a continuous membrane that covers the brain, the spinal cord, and finally attaches again to the sacrum or the bottom of the spine in the pelvic region. The dura mater also attaches another continuous membrane called the fascia. The fascia in turn covers the rest of the body as a continuous fibrous membrane that supports and separates skeletal muscles. Also there is innervation of all fascial tissue both sensory and motor nerves. Therefore any lesions in the fascia can and will affect the nerve function to and from the affected areas.
In the BCT model, it is the lesions or deformities of the dura that are caused by the inappropriate alignment and movement of the bones of the cranium. These lesions predispose the spine, fascia, and other parts of the body to deformities, weakness, and disease. I like to describe this action by comparing the dura mater to a gunnysack. If you take a string in the gunnysack and pull on it, it is the other end of the material that kinks up! So it is with the dura mater. When you “pull” on the dura mater in the cranium it is quite possible to contort the fascia in another part of body like for instance, the knee, or the kidney, or any part of the body for that matter. This in turn predisposes those parts of the body to weakness and disease.
Biocranial therapy is a natural approach
I equate the mechanisms of the cranium that are activated duing BCT to that of the child that gets his head stuck in the fence. His head fit through the opening a few moments before, now why will it not fit back through the same opening? Simply because the child managed to trap it’s head in such a manner as to engage the cranial mechanism and cause fluid to build up in the cranium expanding the bones to full extension. So it is with BCT, a simple but precise procedure that engages this mechanism. Once released, the fluid flows out, and the bones of the cranium return to a more natural position relieving pressure on the brain and meninges.
BCT is a fairly gentle, non-invasive and drug free approach to help change the physiology of the body by reaching a fundamental level of order in the body. It takes less than 5 minutes and involves no major discomfort, no sudden twists, turns, jerks, or bone popping.
What problems does biocranial therapy treat
The amazing results that can come with BCT lie in treating predisposing factors. For instance, a weakness in the knee of the individual is predisposed by some factor. Simply twisting the knee and causing an injury to it is called a precipitating factor. This sort of twisting of the knee would never injure an individual with no predisposing factors to weaken the knee. If you can find the root cause of the weakness and remediate it then and only then is the individual released from the bondage of the predisposed weakness.
A partial listing* of some of the common diseases and disorders that can be predisposed by cranio-sacral mechanism, the alignment of the bones of the cranium, and the lesions in the meninges are: abscesses, allergies, angina, arthritis, asthma, back and neck pains, balance problems, carpal tunnel, chronic fatigue syndrome, digestive disorders, disk problems, fibromyalgia, menopausal flashing, sciaticas, seizures, skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis, spasms, tinnitus, TMJ, tumors, ulcerations, and a whole range of unresolved injuries.
Down Syndrome, Autism, PDD, ADD/ADHD, Mental Retardation, Cerebral Palsy, Hyperactivity, Diabetes, Brain Injury, are just some of the conditions known to respond to BCT treatments. BCT can help by taking direct pressure off of certain areas of the brain improving endocrine function, processing skills, sinus function, and more. It can help the cerebral spinal fluid flow in the cranio-sacral mechanism helping to remediate hydrocephalus. It can help the inappropriately contracted muscles in the body to assume a normal tone by releasing pressure in the fascia. It can take undo pressure off of weak joints and organs in the body.
In the search for physical and mental wholeness, we have to consider the fundamentals and basic principles around which our body is built. I call this a developmental approach. The body and brain develop from the simple to the complex, from the head down, and in specific developmental order. Any interruption in that developmental process causes any higher levels of function to be distorted. In order to restore order to the whole body and mind, you have to begin with the lowest level of dysfunction in the body and straighten it out first before the subsequent levels can be properly organized. I believe this to be a foundational truth and rely on the simplicity of this principle to guide me in the handling of the injured and hurting people that enter our clinic’s door. I believe that BCT is one of these foundational and developmental processes that is a key to unlocking many mysteries of the causation of infirmities and abnormalities.
Whoever said, “It’s all in your head” may have been more right than they know!
- Taken in part from the pamphlet “Bio Cranial Therapy, The Definitive and Ultimate Approach to Physiological Dysfunction” by Robert Boyd, D.O.
- Applications for BCT in Child Disorders.
Authored by Neurodevelopment Consultant Craig Stellpflug NDC, CNC Healing Pathways Medical Clinic Scottsdale, AZ
Copyright 2012 Craig Stellpflug© Permission is hereby granted to copy and distribute this article but only in its entirety